Worried about where your children are going to live?

Worried about where your children are going to live?  You should be.

The average house price in the UK is around £300,000, with average first time buyer house price at around £200,000. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/16/average-asking-price-first-time-buyer-home-buy-to-let-stamp-duty

If a prospective first time buyer has raised the £20,000 deposit, then taking into account costs they will need an income of around £39000 a year to be offered a mortgage.  And they will be charged around 4% for the privilege. http://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/mortgage-calculator/calculator/#

Only the top 20% of earners in the country have that level of income.   http://www.salarygraph.co.uk/

So, if your children want a home of their own, then without help they will need to be in the top 20% of wage earners.

How can you help as a parent?  Here’s one example.  If you own your home and have paid off your mortgage already then you could take out a mortgage on your home at a much better rate, and then lend the money to your children.  Suppose your home is the average value, then you would need to borrow just under 65% of the value.  An offset mortgage with the Coventry for instance offers a rate of under 2% (lower because of the better loan to value ratio) http://www.coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk/mortgages/AccountSummary.aspx?socseqno=1&prodCode=OFL50&Company=1  Taking out an offset mortgage on your own house also means that you can set up the mortgage before your children need the money to buy a home.   So even if they are some years away from wanting to buy, you can still be putting arrangements in place.

But you could make good use of the funds in the meantime. Why not do something immediately to help others who are desperately in need of homes?  Think about the suggestion in this article: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2016/29-april/comment/opinion/use-what-power-you-have-to-help-the-poor .  Or if you want even lower risk, then you could buy a house and lease it to your local council. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/let-your-home-to-the-council-paul-gosling-reports-on-a-tenant-who-could-prove-ideal-1535702.html

The housing situation is difficult, not just for our own children but for many others.  This is worrying, but I hope this short article shows that as individuals we are not helpless.  If you are in a position to help, then why not have a go?  It can be fun and rewarding.


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Time to repent.

In an earlier post I wrote “Inequality between the richest and the poorest is a man-made thing. Men have put it in place. Men defend it. Men can dismantle it.”  I was wrong.

Recent events clearly show that left alone, mankind is selfish, greedy and tribal.  Only when empowered by the spirit of love and goodness can men and women make a difference.

We need more leaders who promote that spirit, but we are cursed with politicians such as Trump who despise love and goodness.  Many of the Brexit arguments from both sides were appealing to our baser nature.  And we listen to them and subdue the spirit of love in our heart.

So what must we do to change the state of things?  We were given the answer two thousand years ago:

“Repent, and give up our life of sin”

Each one of us needs to take stock of our values and choose to live by what really matters: to love our neighbour as ourselves.  We need to embrace the spirit of love and goodness, accept forgiveness for how we have been and from now on choose to love.  That is the only way that the evil in this world will be defeated.

For more details, go to your local church or read:

Christianity why bother cover

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Behaviour like that of Philip Green is more than just the unacceptable face of capitalism, it is the root cause of the turmoil in our country and world today.

The greed of the very rich caused the deprivation in the many parts of England, which in turn led to the Brexit vote.

The demand for high dividends and returns on investment leads companies to cut costs and exploit their powerless workers, demanding longer hours, zero hours contracts and low wages.  The stress this causes leads to anger.  The deprivation of family time leads to unruly children.

The sucking of money out of the economy by the rich causes the shortage of jobs and leads to hopelessness in the younger generation.  What future have they got if they see that you need a degree to work in a fast food store.

Are you someone who is profiting from the poor?  Carry on if you wish, but you bear responsibility for the coming turmoil.  Look back at history and learn what the selfishness and greed of those in power leads to.  Or simply say “let them eat cake”.

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Why I will be voting to remain in the EU.

The result of the vote is likely to have little or no impact on me personally, so why do I come across as passionate that we should stay in?  Because I care deeply about the wellbeing and spiritual health of all in our nation.

The current suffering of the poorest in our society has absolutely nothing to do with the EU, but everything to do with the UK government’s austerity program and with the culture of inequality that is peddled by the press and protected by the wealthy.  It is within our nation’s power to deal with this today – irrespective of whether we are in or out of the EU.  The ‘out’ campaign put the blame for the current difficulties on immigration and ‘Jonny Foreigner’.  This creates anger, tribalism and hate in the hearts of those who listen to their message.  I do not want our nation to move further in that direction.

The claims from both sides that Britain will be better off ‘in’ or ‘out’ are all speculation. Nobody knows how other nations will respond, what the markets will do, or any of the other predictions.  Of course, the ‘out’ campaign can claim that things will be better than they are today, and in response all that the ‘in’ campaign can say is that they will be worse.  In the present austerity regime, the ‘out’ offers an end to the pain, in the same way as the National Lottery offers a way out of financial troubles – and you don’t even have to buy a ticket, just tick the right box.  And in the same way that the lottery takes money from the poorest with the promise of wealth, the out campaign is appealing to the poorest with the promise of a wonderful future.  This is manipulative, and I will not support a group of people who use such tactics.

We are currently governed by a party that was elected by 25% of the nation (we call it democracy), composed of the privileged class.  Without hindrance from the EU they are introducing policies that do not consider the personal pain of the poor.  The most extreme members of this group are the ones that want us to leave the EU.  I ask why, and the answer is simple – they don’t want the EU to constrain their policies with any social justice laws and regulations.  They want to be unfettered in pursuing their personal agendas.  I do not want to see these people given completely free reign in this county.

And finally, the whole question is causing people to ask ‘what is best for me’, whereas I would rather see people to ask ‘what can I do to help my neighbour’.  I want the leaders of our nation to encourage us to be more moral in our thinking, and yet the in/out debate is a perfect example of our politicians appealing to the basest emotions that we have.  So I advocate: “Vote to stay in Europe, stop listening to the rantings on the politicians, and get on with loving and caring for your neighbour, near and far”.


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How each of us can help the poorest find somewhere to live

Here’s an article I wrote, just published in Church Times:


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A contemporary Genesis

One morning I felt the inspiration to write a modern version of the Genesis account of creation, incorporating and alluding to the scientific discoveries of recent times.  I hope that nobody chooses to take offence:

Before the beginning of time and matter in our universe, there was God.  Of his works other than our universe we know nothing, but of his works in this universe we have learned much through the gift of our intellect. Of all his purpose in our universe we can know only what he has chosen to reveal to us, and he has revealed that we were his purpose.  One purpose alone or one purpose among many is not for us to know.

God chose to create this universe.  He created time, and then he tore nothingness into matter and antimatter, and in that great explosion from nothing he caused there to be an excess of matter over antimatter.  And he causes matter to interact with matter through invisible forces acting across nothingness. And ripples of that rending apart of nothing remain until this day for us to observe with wonder.

Since God knows his plans, he chooses to cause matter to behave in a consistent way. He allows the tiniest particles to behave in individually unpredictable ways, but in community he causes them to follow his chosen laws.  In the presence of spirit, whether God’s own or that of humans or other spiritual beings, God allows his laws to be suspended.  God continues to sustain and guide his creation, acting as and when he chooses and allowing individuals to choose how to act.

And so for billions of years, although years were yet to be invented, the universe unrolled according to the laws that God had chosen.  Particles formed into atoms, atoms formed into great stars and stars drew together into galaxies.  The first stars grew to such a size that the interaction between the matter and the forces caused great energy and the explosion of the stars, and in those explosions new atoms were formed.  God was making the building blocks of life, the carbon and the oxygen atoms.  Out of those explosions, and according to God’s laws of interaction new stars formed, and planets were formed around those stars.

One of those planets, the earth, had the right conditions for the next phase in God’s plan.  The planet was at first a molten mass, bombarded from space by asteroids and meteors as the turmoil of the formation of the particular sun and galaxy subsided.  A crust was formed on the molten mass, and a gaseous atmosphere formed above the crust.  In that atmosphere and on the crust, the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms joined to form more complex short molecules.  When the time was right, these short molecules formed into long chain molecules.  These very special molecules continued to work according to the laws that God had chosen for the atoms and particles.  The molecules had different purposes, some formed into cell membranes, some formed into little molecular machines, and some formed into very long instruction chains.  And God caused them to be combined into what we today would call cells, and God had given them the mechanism to multiply in number.

To the first cells he gave the task of changing the atmosphere of the earth.  Using the energy of the nearest star, the sun, the cells separated oxygen from carbon dioxide and pumped the oxygen into the atmosphere.  For more than a billion years the cells carried out their task of preparing the atmosphere of the earth, getting ready for the more complex organisms that were next on his plan.

When conditions were right, the individual cells formed into groups or communities that were dependant on each other, where each cell in the group performed slightly different functions and so the new organism was able to both become larger but also to perform more complex functions.  God gave the individual cells the means to evolve a mechanism that would carry the instructions for each cell in the group to perform its function, and to respond to the communications from other cells within the group.  And so, multicellular organisms were formed.

The instructions embedded in each of these cells ran to billions of characters in length.  The mechanisms of the cell and these instructions were both necessary for the cells to operate and grow, and to reproduce from generation to generation.  God didn’t plan to make all organisms identical, so he designed ways and means of bringing variation to the offspring of the organisms.  He allowed “random” variations due to inaccurate copying, and he caused deliberate mixing of the instructions in one organism with another, requiring separate organisms to come together in order to create the next generation.  The organisms themselves thus had to live in partnership and community to survive.

So God had established a process of growing a wide diversity of organisms of increasing functionality that relied on each other to survive and thrive.  Whilst each individual organism would be allowed to behave in an individual way, only those that were successful in progressing God’s plan survived and reproduced.  God chose to allow a process of competition to develop the organisms as he wanted; a process which required individual capability and cooperation between individual cells within an organism, and between organisms of the same type.  Through this phase of God’s plan he used the law of “survival of the fittest” to perfect each organism, and to select which organisms to perfect.  The organisms didn’t know anything of right and wrong.

But that was not the end of God’s purpose, although it took billions of years to accomplish.  His plans were greater than that, for there to be beings in his likeness; beings that would design and create, but more than that, beings that would know right from wrong, beings that would love, spiritual beings that would know and seek God himself.

So he selected one of the organisms and he planted his spirit in that organism and gave it an awareness of God himself, and he gave that organism the ability to know what is right and what is wrong, and he gave that organism the ability to choose to do what is right or what is wrong.  That organism is mankind, the pinnacle of God’s creation. 

You might not be ready to accept this new account. Certainly it is not literally correct, but maybe it is more relevant to today’s society in the same way that the original Genesis was relevant to the society of its day.  It conveys that all of us are spiritual and material beings, willed by God as the culmination of a creative process of unimaginable complexity spanning billions of years, following the creation of time itself.  Mankind: created with the opportunity to know God and to relate to him, but allowed the alternative of rejecting and ignoring him.

Excerpt from “The Big Picture – an honest examination of God, Science and Purpose”


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A Christian way to stimulate the economy.

Economic growth is seen as a good thing.  More economic activity generates more taxes and so allows the government more money to spend on healthcare, education, and welfare.  Society benefits from extra spend on these issues.

But forecasters say that economic growth is low and predicted values are reducing.  It is the government’s responsibility to try to improve economic growth.

The present chancellor also believes that it is beneficial for the government to ‘balance the books’.  In the 2016 budget the chancellor has said that it will be more difficult to ‘balance the books’ because ecomonic growth has slowed down.  He then goes on to propose tax reduction for the better off, and to reduce benefits to the poorest and most vulnerable. In proposing these policies, he is either ignoring or unaware of a fundamental principle:

If the poor have more money, they will spend it.  They need to buy the essentials – food, clothes, rent.  This puts money into the economy, which then grows.

If the rich have more money, they will save it.  They have no basic needs, and fear being poor in the future.  This removes money from the economy and growth slows.

If we follow the basic Christian principle of giving money to the poor, we stimulate the economy and things get better for everyone.  And you don’t have to be a Christian to do it.

The chancellor refuses to do this on our behalf, which makes it more difficult.  But if you have more money than you need, give some to the poor.

Here are some ways to do this:

  • If you are a landlord, charge less rent
  • Pay your taxes, and don’t look for tax loopholes
  • Leave bigger tips at restaurants,
  • Give to anyone who asks
  • Employ people instead of DIY, and pay a fair amount
  • Give to charities that help the poor and needy
  • Give to foodbanks
  • Financially support someone less well off than you are

Give it a try.  You will feel better for it, and it will make a difference.

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David Bowie – The Hysteria, the Sorrow, the Frustration and the Hope

A clear thinking article.

This is my article on David Bowie in Christian Today   – it is slightly amended because I wanted to tidy up a couple of things.  The article came as a result of a conversation with my wife, Annabel, as she gave me a lift down to the church.  And then all these ideas just popped into my head, so I wrote them down and quite surprizingly it has gone, as they say, ‘viral’.  There are so many ‘Bowies’ out there – who need to hear the Good News!  As always comments appreciated.

Its great that The Scotsman has put much of this on their website!

And The Herald

David Bowie’s death, grief, and the frustration of a society that has nothing to offer the lonely

It was a shock. Of course it was. Make your coffee, switch on the radio and you hear Life on Mars on Radio 4. What…

View original post 1,353 more words

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God is fair, the economy isn’t, we can do our bit.

Mankind has established a system that breeds injustice. Wealth sucks money from the poor. Those with money enjoy luxury whilst those without struggle to survive.

God is not like that. He is just and fair. The Apostle Peter writes, “This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of God”. Faith is available to all, rich or poor.

God is fair. “He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” In God’s kingdom, rich and poor are treated fairly.

God is just. In God’s kingdom rich and poor will receive the justice they deserve.

The poor will receive justice for suffering under the unfair economic system of this world. But the actions of the rich sustain that system.

It is so ingrained in our culture to maximise our income that we forget that the more we gain we gain the more someone else loses. Let’s remember.

Let’s question each financial decision to make sure it will reduce the unfairness of the system:  Does it move money from the poor to the rich, or does it help the poor?

“Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”

It is hard to go against the flow, but if we choose to reinforce an unfair monetary system, why should we expect to escape justice?

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A morning prayer for the wealthy

Dear Lord,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Thank you for bringing me safely through another night and for the promise of a new day.
Thank you for blessing me with health, wealth and good friends, and thank you for my family.

Thank you for the blessings that I can bring to others. Forgive me please for the times when I have not acted as you would wish, and please strengthen and encourage me to carry out your will in the future. Guide my steps to places and people who I can bless, and form in my heart the desire and will to be that blessing. Let me feel joy at the good that I have been able to do in your name.

It is hard to be joyful when there is evil confronting us each day, sustained by misguided beliefs and the cold hard hearts of so many.

Yet all good things come from you and are part of you, so please help me to know you, love you and enjoy your presence. Please lift my spirit to worship and praise you, and to appreciate your gifts to me. Please be present with me every moment of the day and night, filling me with your goodness and keeping me from harm. Please protect those who I love, and heal those who are suffering in body, mind and spirit.

In this cruel and selfish world, I ask that you work in all people to draw us to love you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Please correct the growing culture of inequality where we, your children, believe others to be less important and valuable than we are. Help us to see each human being as our brother or sister, parent or child, and to love them as such.

Father, let your spirit drench this land as the wind and rain of winter. Convince the people in this nation of your existence, bring us to see our sin, and to repentance and forgiveness. Draw us close to you.

And please mould your church to feed us with the bread of life and to help us praise you as you deserve. Please remove the barriers that we put in the way of people who would follow you, forgive our mistakes and guide our actions to properly serve you and those we live among.

I ask all this in Jesus’ name, for I believe and trust that this is your will.


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